When someone mentions the word ‘pruning’ most people think of large trees or shrubs. Pruning herbaceous plants usually doesn’t involve the use of large clippers or electric shears. If your herb garden is beginning to look a little unruly, then you might find these 5 tips on pruning herbs useful.
5. Springtime is Best for Pruning
Pinch down woody herbs in the early spring and right after they have finished blooming too. If you wait and prune late in the season, you’ll end up encouraging new growth on your woody herbs when the plant should be trying to get ready to go dormant for the winter.
4. Watch for Leggy Plants
You won’t have to do much pruning unless you notice that your herbs are becoming too leggy. This means there are many shoots that are very long and extremely thin. You can pinch off most of these leggy shoots and allow the nutrients to be sent to fatten up the plant parts that are left.
3. Cut Back Soft Perennial Herbs
In the spring time, perennial herbs such as, oregano, winter savory, or marjoram, can be cut back to spur new growth. Cut off half of the foliage and this will encourage new growth. Make sure to do this before the herb plant begins to bloom.
2. Don’t Worry about Pruning Annual Herbs
If you cut down an herb that isn’t a perennial, you’ll most likely kill the entire plant for the season. It’s best to pick off what you need from these herbs and let them be. Some will become bushier if you pinch the tips off of each new shoot.
1. Remove Dead or Damaged Branches Often
Woody herbs occasionally need to be checked to see if any branches are dead, dying, or damaged in any way. Most of these can be snapped off with your hands, but you might need a pruning utensil if you don’t want to use your hands. Simply remove any of the branches that aren’t producing new leaves.
Most gardeners prefer to allow their herb garden to do whatever it wants. I use my herbs often enough that I don’t generally have to do much pruning throughout the year. If I do need to prune any of them, I find that a pair of scissors works just as well as a fancy pair of expensive snippers. Do you find it necessary to prune your herbs regularly?
Top Photo Credit: fermicat